Do Dogs Learn from Each Other?

Do Dogs Learn from Each Other?


Do dogs learn from each other?  The answer is absolutely, but not in the sense of bringing Dog A to watch Dog B participate in obedience class in hopes that Dog A also learns to heel.  Dogs feed off of each other and they are always communicating, which means information is going back and forth all of the time.  Even though dogs learn from each other, it’s still up to us to make sure they are learning the correct info from one another.  Here are some examples:

  • A hyper and unstable dog that window barks, runs the fence line, or is reactive on leash can likely fire up another dog; pretty soon you will have two reactive dogs.
  • A well-socialized and stable dog can teach an obnoxious, over-the-top dog to chill out during social greetings and interactions.
  • A well-socialized and stable dog can also help teach a nervous dog to be more confident about social greetings and interactions.
  • A nervous dog who is always whining or pacing can also stress out another dog in the home causing him/her stress and anxiety as well.
  • A noise-reactive dog (doorbells, car doors closing, etc) can cause another dog in the same household to be reactive.
  • A dog who constantly steals toys, stares at, or puts pressure on another dog while eating or chewing a bone can cause the other dog to become a lot more defensive of the household resources.

Dogs are fantastic communicators and teachers for each other and we integrate them into our training programs.  But the important thing is to make sure you have the correct dogs doing the teaching. If you are considering getting another dog, make sure your first dog is under control before creating a multiple dog household.


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